Thursday, May 26, 2005

Almost Surly

Soma Fabrications provides an interesting product line that closely mirrors Surly's line. So you get a 'cross frame with 132.5 rear spacing, a couple of road frames and a fixed gear. But the only frame with long dropouts is the track frame, with rear-facing track-style dropouts. The 'cross frame has VD, so you can't adjust wheel position or try any single-speed versions on that platform.

The off-road frames also resemble Surly's offerings. There's a 29-inch like the Karate Monkey and a single speed like the 1x1, and a cross-country hardtail that sounds a lot like a classic early 1990s Specialized Stumpjumper. That one sounds intriguing.

They list a selection of track cogs all the way to 23 teeth, so that gives a good range of gear options for the open-road fixed gear rider, but Surly also offers a wide range of cog sizes.

If Surly isn't available near you and Soma is, it looks like a good option. Also, they deserve support for keeping some notion of durability and versatility alive. Too much of the industry has gone over to complex dispos-a-bikes, thinking these will attract more consumers. But, as I've said before, you still have to pedal them, and that automatically limits their appeal.

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